Residential Tips

Should You Have A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home?

If you’re looking to purchase a new home, then you may have considered partnering with a licensed real estate agent. You’re not among the few, considering 88 percent of homebuyers enlist the assistance of an Apopka Realtor. Most builders and buyers find it the best decision to deal with a real estate agent to make the process easier. In fact, it’s typically expected that a buyer have an agent before the purchase of any home.

Purchasing A New Home

Buyers who are looking to make a purchase on newly constructed homes may feel like enlisting a Realtor is unnecessary. New home project sales people are a great resource to help anyone understand the project. However, your Realtor will be able to help you find the best deal whether it is a resale or newly constructed. The builder’s sales person represents the builder’s best interests not the buyer’s! Anyone new to the real estate realm can easily be overwhelmed with options and pricing. Your Realtor will be able to represent you and negotiate with any builder to develop your dream home at a reasonable price.

Let an experienced professional advise you where to look for your new home. They are able to help you find the house you envisioned, while keeping you in price range!

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Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Limestone Surfaces

Limestone surfaces are a popular choice for renovations and improvements providing the luxurious expensive look of marble but an a more affordable old-world price. Most limestone is usually white or off-white in color with unique and naturally occurring patterns throughout the stone. 


Residential Tips

The Nanny Check

Your children are the most precious and important people in your life. You treasure them more than life itself. So, when it’s time to hire a nanny or babysitter, how do you decide who will protect your child as much as you do? Access Investigative Services has the answers.  Vetting your child’s nanny is one of our specialties.

We’ve all heard horror stories about children found wandering the streets unattended because the babysitter fell asleep.  Or, kids were harmed or neglected by a nanny.   A background check of your nanny is not overreacting. It’s being safe.

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Residential Tips

Why Should I Get A Home Security System?

A security system is essential and put in place for carefully designated areas of the home that serve as entry points for intruders. Home security systems are made up of various electronic devices that work together in an integrated manner, so that a central control panel is the point of securing the home (with a code, voice password etc.).


There are a number of elements to home security systems, depending on the layout of the home, size, quality of the system and type of security method used. Generally, most systems will have the control panel as the central control mechanism, there is usually also door and window sensors, or motion sensors internal and externally in the home. Some systems also have cameras that are wired or unwired. Alarms are the main point of reference for a security system, which is usually a high decibel sound as the alert signal.


Research reveals that homes that opt for no security system are more than twice as likely to be targets for robberies. As homes without systems are targeted first by opportunistic burglars, to show that a system is in place, many people choose to advertise the fact by placing window stickers and signs on the exterior in the home so as to discourage possible threats.


With the growing technology in this field, people are now able to remotely manage their house from anywhere in the world with web-accessible devices, enabling them to arm and disarm the system at any time. This allows a monitoring of the home and to have peace of mind when away on work or leisure trips. Another lesser-known advantage is that insurance companies actually offer discounts on covers when you have a security system in place in your home.

Cleaning Tips

De-Cluttering: 2 Tips To Get Yourself Started

Whether it’s time for the yearly spring clean, or perhaps you have just had enough of the growing accumulation of stuff, de-cluttering the home can be a refreshing, yet oftentimes, overwhelming process. Taking hours, days and sometimes even longer, it can be discouraging, and downright frustrating, to find ourselves mid-way through with an even greater mess, and more confusion than we started with. Offered here are the top two tips to get you started in the de-cluttering (and de-stressing) process, to ensure that it is done most efficiently, effectively and maybe even pleasantly.


Get Motivated

Becoming clear on your reason for de-cluttering spaces in your home will make the entire process more effective in having a clear motivation for why you want to do this. It not only takes some of the obligatory feel away, but also gives you a reason to stay on track and inspired to clear the space and get rid of unwanted goods. Even better is having a time frame for when it needs to be done (e.g a friend coming to stay in the spare bedroom that is currently another ‘storage’ space). If there is no obvious time frame, then why not set one for yourself to stick to.


Question Yourself

One of the main reasons we find ourselves amid cluttered spaces are that we have trouble letting things go, thinking that one day we perhaps may need this thing that we completely forgot we owned. We need to be vigilant with ourselves in really questioning whether it is vital for us to keep these objects. Two things to ask yourself are: ‘How long since I last used it?’ and ‘Will I use this in the more foreseeable future?’ If the answer is no, or even a hesitation, then get rid of it. Give it to a friend or a charity, and remind yourself that it is not doing anyone any good sitting collecting dust, where otherwise it could be utilized right now by someone who actually wants/needs it.


For more cleaning tips visit the professional cleaning experts.

Construction & Renovation

Is Your Water Heater Leaking?

Spotting leaks in your plumbing systems can sometimes be a difficult process, as it isn’t always as simple as following the sounds of dripping or noticing watermarks on floors and walls. In more complex systems such as water heaters, it is necessary to routinely check the system for any signs of leakage, as a faulty value can cause an increase in pressure, which could ultimately lead to an explosion.


If your water heater is showing signs of leaking, and you wish to isolate the problem to determine whether it is a health risk and where the problem is stemming from, you can determine the cause. One of the causes of a temperature and pressure relief value leak include the thermostat being set too high, or being faulty, which causes the temperature inside the heater to rise too high. Another issue could be that the water-heating tank gained excess pressure in the system through being drained entirely of water and re-heating. If there is any dirt stuck in the value, this can result in a leak from the valve in being unable to drain effectively, and pressure building in the area.


It is important to consider where your leakage may be coming from so as to best decide on the action to take. It is advised to take extreme care when dealing with the system, turning off the entire heater for a time before looking at the individual parts. It is always best when dealing with issues in plumbing systems to consult a professional and allow experienced and knowledgeable hands to assess and repair any issues. This is especially the case when dealing with systems that run a risk of danger, such as the hot water heating system.


If you suspect that anything in your home is leaking, contact the professionals at Leak Doctor.

Construction & Renovation

The One Thing To Consider When Reroofing Your Home

There are many factors to consider when reroofing your home, but there is one issue in particular that is probably the most important for any homeowner. That factor is cost. The cost of fixing or replacing your roof can quickly build up and exceed your original budget. However, you can save yourself from spending too much if you know how to find the right contractor and you follow through.


Hiring A Roofing Contractor 

When hiring a roofing contractor, things can quickly get complicated. There are numerous contractors in the area, so how are you supposed to know which is the best to hire. Well, the first thing you need to look for is insurance and licensing. Once you’ve verified with official documents, then you want to look for testimonials. See if your friends and family know of a reliable contractor. If not, look online for reviews and ensure they are positive. Failing to hire a reliable and experienced contractor will ultimately backfire.


Why You Need Experts

Maybe you know of someone willing to reroof your home for an inexpensive price. Even if you think they’ll do just as great of a job as a licensed contractor, they will likely not be covered by insurance. This means that if any accidental damage occurs, you will be forced to pay the damages. Additionally, if the quality doesn’t turn out to be as good, then you’ll have to pay more to either repair or replace the roof sooner or later.


If you’re looking to minimize the cost for your roof maintenance, then the first factor to consider is your contractor. Don’t cut corners because you’ll end up paying for it in the end. Make the right choice and choose a licensed and insured roofing contractor.

Construction & Renovation

Home Improvements for Under $5k

Looking to improve your home’s aesthetic, function and overall ambience? There’s plenty you can do to create more value and greater quality of life in your space. Remodeling can be an exciting and expensive process, and for those on a tighter budget, it can seem daunting and discouraging without the know-how of recreating spaces in an affordable way. Here’s some ideas to get you started, all being under $5000.


Aim high: It can often be a neglected part of the home, so ceilings are usually overlooked in a remodel plan. There is much added value to putting some energy into jazzing up your ceiling and you can do so by changing the texture, adding beams, painting, or extra lighting options.


Light it up: Speaking of lighting – this is one of the main factors for anyone looking to buy a home. Additionally, for those looking to create a more comfortable environment for their own home, the transformation that the right lighting can give is monumental. Think standing lights, new ceiling fixtures, lamps and dimming options. Spend time speaking to a specialist in store if you need some guidance, as there are infinite ways to utilise light.


Store more: Adding DIY or custom shelving systems can be a great feature in any room. Make it a stand out design feature will floor to ceiling bookcases, or opt for the hidden and function storage creation in closed spaces like closets, sheds and garages.


Go green for first impressions: Landscaping designs can be one of the greatest values added to any home, with curb appeal being a very big draw for anyone assessing the feel of a home. Hire a professional to create a design for your yard, or explore the range of trees, flowers and features to add yourself. Replace the lawn, use interesting textures, water features, paths, colours and a variety of green to maximise the effect.


Fix Your Roof: Another improvement that you can undertake to increase the value in your home and have it look its best, is fixing or even replacing your roof. Fixing your roof could fit your $5k budget and have a greater return value! So consider looking for a local roofing contractor to help you.

Construction & Renovation

Checklist: Hiring a Roofing Contractor

If you have a reason to hire a roofing contractor you need to ensure that you know exactly why you are hiring them before you start looking. Do you want your entire roof replaced, do you need some leaks fixed, or are you calling due to storm damage?

* Define the Project

Make a list of the needs of the project to include a list of all materials needed, the type of roofing you want to use, and whether it’s a complete replacement or if leaks need to be fixed. Even if it’s a replacement and you have leaks be sure to mention that so you can be assured all leaks are taken care of properly.

* Call Your Insurance Agent

If you need your roof fixed due to storm damage you need to first make a claim with your insurance agent. They will more than likely have a list of approved contractors and will send someone out to evaluate your claim and give you a number about what they’ll pay to fix it and what your deductible is. They’ll usually have more than one contractor that you can choose from. If they do, follow all the steps before to choose which contractor to use.

* Ask Your Friends & Family For Referrals

If this is not an insurance claim you can ask your family and friends for referrals. Most of the time a family or friend will have had roofing work done and know who to call. They’ll know whether or not they were satisfied with the work done. They can tell you whether they got done on time and within the bidding budget too. This can give you a good list of roofing contractors to call.

* Check The Facts

When you have a good list, check up on them to ensure that they do have licensing, certifications and insurance that they’re supposed to have in order to do the work of a roofing contractor. You should be able to find websites with information about each of the referrals. You can also call them and ask for license numbers and other information before you arrange an interview.

* Invite Contractors to Bid

Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices you can invite two or three different contractors to bid on your project. Tell them you want very detailed bidding to detail what exactly is covered in the bid and what is not covered in the bid. You also want a timeline of events to be mentioned in the bid. That way you can know how long this is going to take and how to prepare.

* Evaluate the Bids

Look at each bid and pick at least two that you like. Don’t necessarily pick the lowest bid, pick the bid that covers the most work, and has the best timelines and the best detail and is the most professional. After you pick at least two bids you can move on to the interviewing process.

* Interview the Winning Bids

Now it’s time to actually sit down and talk to each of the winning bids. You need to know what type of laborers they use. You need to find out if they are bonded and insured for this type of job. You need to ask how many times they’ve doing a roof like yours. Try to ask each winning bid the same questions so that your judgments are fair. Ask them when they can start or if they can start on your timeline.

Now you can choose the winner to start your roofing project. Check all references, and ensure that all their licenses and insurance are up to date. Since you’ve done your due diligence it’s likely you’ll have a good experience with your roofing project.

Construction & Renovation

9 Tips For Keeping Your Roof In The Best Shape

Are you experiencing difficulties with your roof? Are you beginning to lose hope with its fix? Then, this article is for you! These tips will help you understand what it takes to properly preserve your roof and to make it last.


  1. Wet circumstances are the enemy of safe and successful roof work. Wet roofs significantly increase the chances of accidents caused by slips and falls. Particularly if you are all alone on a project, only do work on dry, sunny days.


  1. You should select materials used for your roof in consideration of the weather. Clay roofing is a good material if the area that you live in has a dry climate; it can help maintain a comfy temperature inside the house. Clay tiles should not be used in wet climates as they will deteriorate much quicker than other materials would. Ask an expert for advice.


  1. Rubber soled shoes are a necessity when you get up on your roof. Even if it’s dry and sunny out, you need this kind of footwear to maintain a good grip. Any type of roofing repair is going to put you in a hazardous situation.


  1. Always be certain that you’re not paying for the whole project before it’s complete. A down payment of about 25% is all that should be required to get them started on the job. You don’t want to get stuck with a job that isn’t finished appropriately, or one that didn’t take as long as anticipated.


  1. When it comes to employing a roofer, they must have insurance. If you hire a roofer that is not insured, you will be financially liable if there are any property damages. Enquire if the roofer has insurance in place, and make sure you see written documentation that it is current and sufficient in amount.


  1. Ask about the warranties that you can get for the work done. You may find one company offers a better warranty than its competitors. Also, be sure the estimate is written out and contains documentation of the warranty. That way, there cannot be any discrepancy about the terms later on.


  1. It can sometimes be challenging to pinpoint a leak in your roof. It’s only a matter of time before you uncover it through the process of elimination and using a water hose can help in combination with a buddy-system. If your home is large, communicate with cell phones to avoid unnecessarily large amounts of water from entering into your home.


  1. You can check a possible roof leak with a water hose as well. This will not only help you determine whether or not there is a leak, but also where that leak is generally located.


  1. All trustworthy contractors should be licensed and insured and be happy to show you evidence of both. If they’re not able to do this, then they should not be hired no matter what. Without this security, you have no way to recoup your costs in the event of damages or flawed installation.


A damaged roof is a very severe problem. Luckily, now that you have read this article, you have some resources at your disposal. Though it’s not pleasant, roof damage can definitely be repaired, especially if tackled early.


Use the techniques referenced here for the best results or if you live in the Central Florida area, consider using Engelmeier Roofing—an insured and experienced roofing contractor serving residential and commercial roofs since 1959.